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Nurturing the democratic debate.  
UNESCO commemorates the tenth anniversary of the genocide in Rwanda
Editorial Contact: Jasmina Sopova, Bureau of Public Information, Press Relations Section. Tel +33 (0)1 45 68 17 17 - Email

07-04-2004 12:45 pm The United Nations has designated April 7, 2004, International Day of Reflection on the Genocide in Rwanda. In joining in the commemoration of the tenth anniversary of the genocide, UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura today called for the duty of remembrance to be observed by inviting the Permanent Delegates and staff of the Organization to hold a minute of silence, alongside the entire United Nations system.
“A million people killed, tens of thousands displaced – we do not have the right to forget them. The victims of the genocide must be enshrined in our memory, not only for history’s sake, but also, and especially, for the sake of the future,” declared the Director-General, who, in December 2002, personally travelled to Murambi, 165 kilometres from Kigali, to pay tribute at their graves to the 50,000 people who died there in 1994.

Speaking to the Permanent Delegates to UNESCO1, Koïchiro Matsuura recalled the recent declaration by UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan on this subject: “The international community is guilty of sins of omission.” He added: “I can only echo his fitting words. That is why the United Nations has decided that the day of the 7th of April will be dedicated to reflecting on the genocide, and it has particularly invited all the relevant international organizations to take part in this commemoration. UNESCO naturally joins in this moment with conviction and gravity.”

The Director-General then invited the Permanent Delegates to hold, along with the Organization’s staff, “the minute of silence that the entire world is to observe at midday local time […] to collectively show our solidarity with the victims of this tragedy”.

Tonight, from 8:30 p.m., the IBUKA-France association will organize a Remembering Rwanda evening with, among others, the group “Mpore”, Marion Jamer, Ben Kayiranga, Ruhasha, Mucyo, Ferricia Fatia, Thomas M. Pollard, Achille Gajo, Sylvia Howard, Rasul Siddick and Juju Child.

1. Information session with the Permanent Delegates on the process of drafting a Convention on the Protection of the Diversity of Cultural Contents and Artistic Expression.

Source Press Release No 2004 - 31

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